A step taken toward a common social cooperative framework in Turkey

ILO representative joined a conference toward creating a common legal and institutional framework for emerging social cooperatives in Turkey.

News | 28 March 2018
© Directorate General of Cooperatives of the Ministry of Customs and Trade in Turkey
The Cooperatives General Directorate of the Ministry of Customs and Trade in Turkey has organized a conference on social cooperatives in the context of a project on "Social Cooperatives Awareness Raising, Training, Development and Implementation" on 20-21 March 2018 in Ankara. This conference was in direct follow up to a panel on “Social cooperatives in Turkey and in the world” that was organized during the 2nd Cooperative Fair in Turkey in December 2017.

Social cooperatives provide services of general interest and engage in the reintegration, through work, of disadvantaged and marginalised workers (disabled, long-term unemployed, former detainees, addicts, etc.). Such cooperatives are prominent in Italy but also exist in other European countries and growing especially in provision of care services for the elderly. In recent years, a number of social cooperatives have been set up in Turkey by workers, users and volunteers in labour market integration of low income women, unemployed and self-employed youth and people with disabilities as well as education and social development.

Simel Esim, Head, Cooperatives Unit, International Labour Organization
The conference brought together over 70 participants from a range of social cooperatives, the larger cooperative movement, relevant ministries and regional development agencies, trade unions and researchers. The ILO (Simel Esim, Manager COOP Unit), CECOP (Giuseppe Guerini, President), and Italian social cooperative representatives (Daniele Steccanella, Deputy Chairman of Societa Cooperativa Sociale IT2 in Bologna) were among the international participants.

Eight key areas were discussed during the two day conference including: how people/legal entities can join social cooperatives, problems faced by social cooperatives, procedures for members’ benefits, pricing policy for the goods and services, sectors and capital requirements around social cooperatives and essential criteria for social cooperatives.

The ILO presentation on the second day focused on the definitions and demarcations around cooperatives as well as work of social cooperatives in the provision of care services as well as working with migrant and refugee populations. The meeting was concluded with agreement around the need for institutional and regulatory arrangements to be made in support of social cooperatives in Turkey. A third day of discussions with a smaller group of participants took place on March 22nd and focused on the concrete steps to be taken.